Hoping to make a fresh start in 2015? Constant clutter and never-ending to-do lists can leave you feeling frazzled and defeated before the month of January is even over.
Luckily, simplifying your life doesn't have to be complicated. Here, eight smart streamlining solutions that will leave you happier and healthier — proof that sometimes less really is more.
1. Cook a batch of your favorite soup on Sunday to last throughout the week.
In the chill of winter, nothing hits the spot quite like a bowl of hot soup — especially when it means you don't have to worry about cooking for the rest of the week. This one-pot meal makes it easy to fill up on veggies and — thanks to its high water content — leaves you feeling fuller longer, so you're less likely to overindulge later. Stick with broth-based versions for a hassle-free weeknight meal that's high in nutrition and low in calories.
2. Choose one designated spot for always-lost items.
Mornings start out pleasant enough — a fresh shower, a hot cup of coffee — but can quickly turn chaotic in a search for missing keys, wallets and more. Pick one place (say, an accent tray or colorful ceramic bowl) to stash frequently forgotten items like keys, sunglasses and pocketbooks. Your entry table will score a pretty new accessory, and you'll bring order back to your mornings. Everybody wins!
3. Quit comparing yourself to others on social media.
Thanks to Instagram and Facebook, you're always informed of who nabbed a new promotion, who bought their dream home, who snagged the biggest engagement ring and which island your jet-setting friend is vacationing to next. Don't let these perfectly filtered photos leave you second-guessing your own accomplishments. (Come on, nobody's life is that perfect.) Next time you're tempted to keep up with the Joneses, refocus your energy on your own dreams.
4. Save full makeup for special occasions.
Wish you had an extra 20 minutes a day? Minimize your makeup routine. Pick two can't-live-without-them cosmetics, such as mascara and tinted lip balm, then save your full-face makeup for special events like date nights and parties. Not only will it save you time and money, but your skin will also appreciate the breather.
5. Donate clothes that you have not worn for over a year.
Give old clothes new life by donating them to a nonprofit whose work you admire. Not sure which pieces to part with? Turn all your hangers around backward. When you wear something, hang it back normally. Anything that's still facing backward by the end of the year goes in the giveaway pile.
6. Streamline your daily vitamin regimen.
Vitamins are a great way to fill gaps in your diet and ensure lifelong wellness. The trouble is, you often need to several different supplements to get the nutrients you need — and that's assuming you remember to take them all at the right time. SmartyPants' adult fiber vitamin is the first and only vitamin to combine a full multivitamin, omega-3s, fiber and Vitamin D in one nutrient-dense, gluten-free gummy. Their vitamins are made with organic and natural sweeteners — no high fructose corn syrup. Bonus: For every bottle you buy, Smartypants makes a vitamin grant to Vitamin Angels, a nonprofit that delivers vitamins to undernourished children in the US and abroad.
7. Start your day off with an easy-to-make smoothie.
Rushed mornings are no excuse to skip the most important meal of the day. Smoothies are a fast, portable way to get the healthy vitamins and minerals you need to power you through your morning meetings and beyond. For a yummy green smoothie, toss spinach or kale into a blender with pineapple and plain yogurt. Prefer salty over sweet? Mix plain Greek yogurt with almond butter and half a banana for a protein-packed AM shake.
8. Keep all your obligations written in one place.
If you're prone to record notes and appointments on scraps of paper, napkins or even the palm of your hand, find one central location to consolidate your scribbles. Shoving all your lists into one envelope or box will insure you don't lose track of your to-dos. Even better: Compile all your notes into one master document at the end of each day.